Today would mark the 1 month mark for the beginning of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and what an experience it has been. The pageantry, the history, the Olympic grandeur that the games gave off, this as an event where you truly see why it’s held every 4 years. Not due to the lack popularity, heavens no. But due to the fact that this world event is potentially life changing and if the World Cup this year only accomplished 1 thing, that 1 thing would be surpassing the elevated magnitude of the event to almost make it immortal.
I write this as an American who doesn’t necessarily know too much about the sport of World Football (with all due respect to the sport, I am trying to maintain its dignity and honour by refraining from calling it “soccer”. So forgive if I regress) but I couldn’t help but be captivated by the enormity of it all, leading into the event. Once again, being a bold novice to football, I really didn’t know what to expect when watching this. Hell, my extent of soccer only reached to David Beckham and the Rodney Dangerfield movie “Ladybugs” with Jonathan Brandis dressing up as a girl so he could warm up to a girl on the soccer team he had his eye on. A premise that even at 12 years old didn’t make sense to me, but that’s another conversation for a different day. Between seeing the undying dedication of fans supporting their country, the constant conversations of the games on ESPN, even down to the daily “Google Doodles”, I realized that within this past month, soccer has finally resurrected in the states.
Sure the US have been participants in the FIFA World Cup before, but 2014 had a much different element that made this year very different, yet a significant year that stood out above and beyond the previous years. That element would be social media. Between Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, the popularity of the World Cup was blazing enough where it became “Must See TV” in the states. Since the games would start while most of us were at work, social media would tell us that viewers would watch the games at their desk on their PC/laptop, listen/watch on their phone or even using conference rooms to hold viewing parties. The popularity of the World Cup grew so much, that various large cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago would hold massive viewing parties at public parks. So large in fact, that for the USA vs Belgium game, the game was shown at Soldier Field with a capacity crowd of over 60,000. Unreal.
While the rest of the planet are way ahead of the curve when it comes to keeping up with the relevance of football, the states have seen the sport more so as a game that is reserved for your family reunion picnic. But with the Unites States actually doing relatively well and were able to get out of the “Group of Death” (which I think is the coolest name for a group ever in life), Americans wanted to embrace the excitement that other countries would relate to each other with. Us taking a vested interest in the games, would give us another reason to show comradery, and bring us together when we all cannot agree on much in the first place. When we are all in harmony with each other, optimism rises just a little bit more. Don’t we deserve to have that feeling? Don’t we owe it to ourselves to have a joyful feeling of unity and patriotism when it comes to our fellow man? We’re quick to insult and attack one another, but when it comes to unifying, we remember just how wonderful it could be, and the FIFA games gave us a reminder of just how wonderful it is.
Ryan is an IT professional by trade and bases all of his football knowledge off of the Premier League, Chelsea and Football Manager.